Date of Award

8-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Department

School of Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Tonisha R. Jones, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Naoki Kanaboshi, S.J.D.

Third Advisor

Jacquelynn Doyon-Martin, Ph.D.

Academic Year

2018/2019

Abstract

CODIS stores and maintains numerous DNA profiles, and is used as a tool by the criminal justice system in order to help solve crime. Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA for short, is the genetic material that an individual inherits from one’s parents (NIH, 2019). Certain portions of this genetic material are selected for use within the CODIS database due to their lack of medically relevant information. There is an immense amount of power associated with DNA and the CODIS database that it is held within, which allows for many ethical issues to arise. In order to create a usable and safe database, these issues must be well understood and handled properly. The purpose of this study is to conduct a systematic review detailing the ethical implications of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). This systematic review allows for a thorough discussion of the main ethical implications faced by CODIS, such as: what DNA is, DNA analysis methods (historic to present), expansion of CODIS markers, DNA collection protocols, procedural consistency, size of CODIS database, familial searching, inclusivity, time spent in CODIS, and frequency of running through the CODIS database, to be undertaken. Finally, this study offers potential solutions about how to respect and protect the privacy of individuals while still allowing for a complete and inclusive CODIS database to be created and maintained. These solutions include: stronger and consistent data protection protocols, destruction of physical DNA sample after profile is entered into CODIS, and retiring loci that yield too much medically relevant information.

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